Ban encourages new graduates to have global perspective on today’s challenges

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses gathering at Fairleigh Dickinson University. UN Photo/Mark Garten

10 September 2008 – In an ever increasingly interdependent world, where challenges such as climate change, development and security transcend national boundaries, it is in everyone’s best interest to think globally, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told students at Fairleigh Dickinson University, where the United Nations chief received an honorary degree today.

The University bestowed an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree on Mr. Ban, who became the second Secretary-General after Trygve Lie to receive an honorary degree from the academic institution, based in Madison, New Jersey.

In a keynote address at the University’s convocation, Mr. Ban stressed that “our future well-being will depend on thinking globally,” noting a range of global challenges that affect everyone, from dealing with climate change and implementing the anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), to addressing security issues such as terrorism and organized crime.

“More and more these days, it is in our national interest – and in our personal self-interest – to think globally,” he told the gathering of students, faculty and guests.

“The world is growing more interdependent,” he noted. “The key question is whether we will keep pace – whether we will develop a global mindset. I believe we will. Slowly but surely, people are beginning to think globally.”

The Secretary-General exhorted the young people in the audience, stating that “your generation can help tip the balance in cultivating a global mindset.”

He lauded Fairleigh Dickinson as a leader in global education, adding that the student who opens up to other cultures will be more at home in a global economy, just as the professor who encourages his students to think beyond traditional borders gives them a professional head start.

“And the academic institution that stresses global education will produce class after class of global citizens,” he said, adding that “the United Nations must do its part.”

He announced that the UN is currently developing an initiative called “Academic Impact” aimed at building stronger ties with institutions of higher learning which it hopes to launch soon.


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